It now appears that President Donald Trump’s philosophy regarding women’s issues is starting to manifest itself within local GOP-controlled states who feel emboldened by the election of an open misogynist over America’s first serious female presidential candidate.
In Oklahoma, Representative Justin Humphrey (R), has introduced a bill that would require a woman to obtain written consent from the biological father of the fetus before she’s able to obtain an abortion legally. House Bill 1441, passed out of a House committee on Tuesday, requires women “to provide, in writing, the identity of the father of the fetus to the physician who is to perform or induce the abortion.” And according to the bill’s language, “If the person identified as the father of the fetus challenges the fact that he is the father, such individual may demand that a paternity test be performed.”
In February, Humphrey expressed in an interview with The Intercept that men should also be able to decide the fate of a fetus. He also suggested that a woman bears greater responsibility in a relationship when it comes to preventing pregnancy because she’s the “host.”
“I believe one of the breakdowns in our society is that we have excluded the man out of all of these types of decisions,” he said. “I understand that they feel like that is their body,” he said of women. “I feel like it is a separate — what I call them is, is you’re a ‘host.’ And you know when you enter into a relationship you’re going to be that host and so, you know, if you pre-know that then take all precautions and don’t get pregnant,” he explained. “So that’s where I’m at. I’m like, hey, your body is your body and be responsible with it. But after you’re irresponsible then don’t claim, well, I can just go and do this with another body, when you’re the host and you invited that in.”
Various Women’s reproductive rights groups expressed outrage over Humphery’s unabashed attack on women’s reproductive rights.
No, Rep. Justin Humphrey, we are not "hosts." We are women, and we cannot be contained. #WhyIResist
— Women's March (@womensmarch) February 13, 2017
Humphrey’s invasive bill also appears to clash with a 1992 Supreme Court decision which struck down a similar Pennsylvania law which required a woman to obtain her husband’s permission before getting an abortion. Pro-choice groups also point out that the law would be particularly harmful to women trapped in abusive relationships, as they may be less inclined to ask their abusers for permission.
“It is shameful that Oklahoma politicians advanced this measure, which is demeaning, patently unconstitutional, and puts women in abusive relationships at risk,” Amanda Allen, senior state legislative counsel for the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement. “We call on the Oklahoma legislature to reject this outrageous measure and trust women to make their own health care decisions.”
Laura McQuade, the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains described the bill as “an affront to women’s autonomy and decision-making capacity, full-stop.” She said that Humphrey’s description of pregnant women was disturbing.
“This legislator’s fundamental misunderstanding of human anatomy as well as what birth control is and does is shocking,” McQuade told The Washington Post. “It’s repugnant that we live in a world now that these types of comments are acceptable to say out loud.”
During his presidential campaign, Trump once suggested that women who obtained abortions should face some punishment by the government. Trump made these remarks during an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews. Here’s an excerpt from the transcript of that shocking exchange.
‘MATTHEWS: Do you believe in punishment for abortion, yes or no as a principle?TRUMP: The answer is that there has to be some form of punishment.MATTHEWS: For the woman.TRUMP: Yeah, there has to be some form.MATTHEWS: Ten cents? Ten years? What?TRUMP: I don’t know. That I don’t know. That I don’t know.MATTHEWS: Why not?TRUMP: I don’t know.MATTHEWS: You take positions on everything else.TRUMP: Because I don’t want to — I frankly, I do take positions on everything else. It’s a very complicated position.’
The candidate in that video is now the man setting the tone for the Republican party’s agenda. And right now they are going after the rights of virtually every minority group in America, with almost no efforts to disguise their intentions. This Oklahoma bill may seem like an isolated issue, one that would only affect women in that state, however, such policies have a way of spreading like viruses moving from red state to red state.
And once Trump secures one or two Supreme Court nominees, nothing is preventing the GOP from introducing this bill at a national level. These are the types of fights that must be combated early and often without fail before they can infect greater American society. This is not just a “women’s issue,” this fight involves all Americans because the liberties and freedoms of all Americans are under assault.